Cruise Wrap: CDC extends No Sail Order, Ponant’s new agent portal + MORE

The Viking Longship Eistla near the Hungarian Parliament Building along the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary.

Confused about the state of cruising? This wrap won’t shed much light, but it does contain some spectacular pics for you to live vicariously through.

CDC extends No Sail Order

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended its No Sail Order for cruise ships through 30 September 2020. This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in US waters.

CDC supports the 19 June decision by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)external icon to extend voluntarily the suspension of operations for passenger cruise ship travel until 15 September 2020.

Cumulative CDC data from March 1 through July 10, 2020, shows 2,973 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships, in addition to 34 deaths. These cases were part of 99 outbreaks on 123 different cruise ships. During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by COVID-19. As of July 3, nine of the 49 ships under the No Sail Order have ongoing or resolving outbreaks. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, as of July 10, 2020, there are 67 ships with 14,702 crew onboard.

Ponant launches one-stop pro area for agents

Ponant has developed an online portal to support travel agents and trade partners around Australia and New Zealand in their sales and marketing efforts to promote the cruise line.

Training is incorporated as an important and integral part of the platform to ensure agents can access the best and latest resources to provide confidence when responding to clients’ needs.

The one-stop-shop hub for Australian and New Zealand travel agents can be accessed HERE.

Features allow agents to:

  • Check live availability, make and manage bookings online
  • Marketing and sales tool kits
  • Destination assets including maps, videos, brochures, social media tiles
  • Special Travel Agent rates available
  • Special announcements and exclusive news
  • Training such as webinars
  • Access to photo library

Norwegian Cruise Line set to sail seven ships in Europe across 2021 and 2022

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has unveiled a collection of new Europe itineraries for 2021 and 2022, with clients able to choose from seven ships sailing the region.

NCL’s new Mediterranean and Northern Europe voyages offer port-intensive itineraries, often with late departure times, meaning that guests have more time at each destination to explore.

NCL’s 2021 and 2022 Mediterranean itineraries will be departing from Athens (Piraeus), Barcelona, Dubai, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Venice, with Northern Europe voyages departing from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London (Southampton), Reykjavik and Stockholm.

Crystal Symphony 2023 itineraries announced 

Crystal Cruises has unveiled its complete roster of global itineraries for Crystal Symphony’s 2023 season.

In 2023, 36 all-inclusive voyages of six to 15 nights take guests on far-away journeys that span from exotic, tropical and remote retreats to culturally rich and deeply spiritual explorations. With several regions explored at different times of year, the roster of 2023 sailings offers travellers options to visit many regions outside of high seasons.

When Crystal Symphony’s itineraries open for booking on July 22, it will bring more than three and a half years of choices for travellers to plan their future voyages.

Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Holy Land, Mediterranean and Western Europe, the British Isles and Ireland highlight the collection of voyages, all of which feature at least one overnight stay. Also featured are five maiden calls – in Kampot, Cambodia; Khor Fakkan, UAE; Bristol, England; Malmoe, Sweden; and Gisborne, New Zealand – as well as new embarkation and disembarkation in the boutique port of Eilat, Israel; a return to charming Skagen, Denmark for the first time in nine years; and an overnight in the fashionable city of Antwerp, Belgium (rare among ocean ships).

Riviera Travel River Cruises and Cruise Traveller offers free flights to Europe

Two of history’s greatest writers – William Shakespeare and Jane Austen – will take your clients on two back-to-back river cruises through the north and south of France in 2021 as part of a new package for Australians that includes free return flights to France.

The exclusive, 19-night ‘All About France package is being offered by Riviera Travel River Cruises and their Australian representative, Cruise Traveller.

The package includes a seven-night cruise on the Rhone River through Burgundy and Provence in the south of France aboard Rivera Travel’s river ship, William Shakespeare, and another seven-night cruise on the Seine River through Normandy in the north of France aboard another Riviera Travel ship, Jane Austen.

Four departure dates from Australia are available in 2021 – July 10, August 21, September 4 and October 16.

New for 2021 is Riviera Plus where guests who book selected premium cabins-deck cabins. receive use of a smart handset with maps, translator, currency converter, unlimited calls, text messages and internet service while on board or ashore. Premium passengers also receive L’Occitane en Provence luxury toiletries, a bottle of chilled Prosecco on arrival, a platter of fresh seasonal fruits during the cruise and an aperitif each evening.

Viking’s virtual information sessions return

Agents and clients alike will enjoy oceans of inspiration from the comfort of home when Viking’s brand-new series of Virtual Information Sessions launch from 29 July, featuring an even broader range of topics and destinations, such as The Viking Story and Great Lakes of North America.

Taking place each Wednesday over six weeks, the suite of complementary, interactive webinars have been tailored to suit a broad range of interest areas, complete with personal insights from experts who live and breathe the destinations and the Viking cruise experience.

Each session will run for approximately 45 minutes including time for Q&A, and bonus booking offers will be available on the day.

Click HERE for more information on Viking’s Virtual Information Sessions.

TUI Cruises buys Hapag-Lloyd Cruises 

The TUI Group has sold its subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to TUI Cruises, a joint venture between TUI and Royal Caribbean Group, for around 1.2 billion euros (AUD$1.9 billion).

In its new set-up, the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises brand will remain a provider of luxury and expedition cruises in German-speaking markets with two luxury cruise ships (MS Europa and MS Europa 2) in the 5-star-plus category and three expedition cruise ships. A further expedition cruise ship is already under construction and will be delivered in 2021, replacing MS Bremen.

New milestone for Victory Cruise Lines

2021 will mark a new milestone for Victory Cruise Lines with a brand new exploration ship, Ocean Victory, set to debut, allowing the North American lakes and coastal line to offer deep-nature, all-inclusive expedition voyages in Alaska for the first time.

The hi-tech, clean-fuel ship will boast a spectacular, aft-facing infinity pool, jacuzzi, two restaurants, panoramic observation lounge overlooking the bow, library, fitness centre and spa, piano bar and 93 staterooms – all with ocean views and 79 per cent with private balconies. Set for completion in late 2020, Ocean Victory will also carry 20 Zodiac craft, a fleet of kayaks and a team of naturalists, marine biologists, scientists and historians.

To mark the debut of Ocean Victory Cruise Traveller, which represents Victory Cruise Lines in Australia, has released a special new 15-night ‘Alaskan Victory’ fly, cruise and stay package to Alaska, with departures in July, August and September 2021.

Including flights, the cruise, hotel accommodation and onboard beverages and excursions, the 15-night ‘Alaskan Victory’ package is available from A$12,995 per person, twin-share  (based on Sept departure) – a saving of $3,930 per person if booked by 30 September 2020. Departures from Australia are available 11 July, 1 August and 12 September in 2021.

Windstar Cruises retrofits fleet with HEPA filters and UV-C Light

Windstar Cruises has committed to a holistic Beyond Ordinary Care program and will retrofit its fleet of six yachts with hospital-grade HEPA filters, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation and will employ a safe sanitisation formula used in health care settings.

Windstar has partnered with the epidemiology department at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Center, known for its work and expertise in infectious disease epidemiology. The collaboration aims to implement additional protection for guests on Windstar’s yachts.

The line is also is making significant investments and operational adjustments to meet the requirements of the CDC and global governmental and public health guidance. Enhanced cleaning protocols on board include crew dedicated to frequent cleaning with special attention to high touch points and public areas.

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